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Dr. Ted Loudon Receives Annual Richard J. Otis Award


Ted grew up in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  Went to the University of Wyoming in the early 1960’s, received a BS in Agricultural Engineering, and a MS in Civil Engineering in 1966. 

In 1968 Ted came to Michigan State University for further study, and earned his PhD in the agricultural engineering field in 1971.

In the fall of 1971 he joined the faculty in what is now called the Dept. of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at MSU with extension as a part of his responsibilities.

It must have been shortly after that I met Ted through his leadership in planning and participation in our annual Michigan Onsite Wastewater Conference.  He had a keen interest in rural sanitation practices, and in those days became very active in lining up speakers and putting together our annual state conference. Our last conference in January was our 69th annual conference.  We believe it to be longest running conference in the nation.  Ted actively participated on the conference planning committee until he retired from MSU in 2004.

While at MSU Ted was also the driving force behind the establishment of our Michigan Onsite Wastewater Training Center, and actively managed training activities there for several years until his retirement.   Since his retirement, Ted and I have worked together to teach several workshops in onsite wastewater system design and management, and we also developed the materials for a full semester course on the same subject for senior level and graduate students at MSU. Ted was also an active participant in the Consortium of Institutions for Onsite Wastewater Treatment that developed numerous training materials for onsite practitioners. 

Ted has been active in the American Society of Biological and Agricultural Engineers, the International Water Association, NOWRA, and Gideons International.  Ted served at least one term on the NOWRA Board of Directors, and served as the President from 2000 to 2002.  I know that one of NOWRA’s accomplishments under Ted’s leadership was the development a document called “FRAMEWORK FOR DECENTRALIZED WASTEWATER MANAGEMENT”.  I believe that “Framework” became the forerunner for EPA’s publication of the “Voluntary National Guidelines for Management of Onsite and Clustered Wastewater Treatment Systems”. 

Since his retirement from MSU, Ted has maintained a very active life.   Over the last 12 years or so, he has been very actively involved with Aqua Clara International.  ACI is a Michigan based company that does research and development of low cost, point-of-use water purifiers for use in rural areas of developing countries where the average income is less than $2.00 per day.  He frequently travels to those countries to find and train local individuals to assemble and maintain such systems using materials available locally.  This effort has become Ted’s “ministry” throughout his retirement. 

A couple of years ago I heard Ted share that in his efforts he had been blessed to travel in 42 different countries throughout the world.  I heard him recently share that now he has added a few to that list.  Ted’s first wife, Barb, died in 2016.  Since then he met and married Jeanne, who is a former missionary to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and enjoys traveling with him when circumstances permit. 

So, on behalf of all of us for whom you have served as a mentor through the years, and in recognition of all you have done to help improve rural sanitation practices all over the world,   it is my honor to present Dr. Ted Loudon with the “Richard J. Otis award for Industry Achievement” on behalf of the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association.

By Larry Stephens, Stephens Consulting Services

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